Today I’m going to share with you 3 SIMPLE STEPS that will set you up for success in almost everything you do!
1. Be prepared.
2. Set realistic expectations.
3. Have a sense of humor.
We’ve all heard ‘proper planning prevents poor performance’, but do we take this advice to heart and act upon it?
Here are some practical examples:
- Before you leave to run errands, take a moment to check your list, plan your route and make sure you have everything you need for each stop. Coupons? Returns? Payment stubs?
- Are you the parent of an infant or toddler? Make sure to always carry an extra set of clothes with you, as well as doubles of any other items you may need in a pinch.
- Do you have school age children? Keep poster board, printer cartridges, and school supplies on hand to avoid late night treks to the store.
- Enjoy taking your lunch to work each day? Make sure your fridge is stocked with all the goodies you’ll need to just grab and go on busy mornings.
The idea is to think ahead and plan for what you may encounter. Obviously you can’t prepare for every circumstance, but that isn’t necessary. The difference you’ll realize just by putting out the majority of the fires will be well worth your effort.
When my oldest son was just a baby, I had to run in to the bank several times a week to make our business transactions. As many of you have experienced, running in and out of stores with your baby and all of the paraphernalia needed, while trying to do business, can be a bit overwhelming, so I devised a simple plan. Before I left home, I put my bankcard in my back, right pocket, bank transactions in a bank pouch, and a tissue in my front left pocket (there was ALWAYS a runny nose, sneeze or drool going on!), leaving my front right pocket available for my keys. Sound a bit ridiculous? Overkill? Well, the ease and simplicity of my frequent bank stops with my baby was well worth the ‘ridiculous’ planning. I took only what I needed and got the job done! I set myself up for success.
SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS
“The best laid plans…” No matter how well you prepare in Step 1, things will go astray. It’s inevitable. So what to do?
When you’re calculating how much time a chore or activity will take, always add some wiggle room. This is particularly important when planning drive times. Cutting time short is a sure fire way to breed anxiety. A few extra minutes can be life-changing!
The same goes for money. Projects always end up costing more, so build a little buffer in from the start and eliminate unwanted headaches!
Acknowledge that not everything is within your control. You’ll often have to rely on other people such as co-workers or committee members to hold up their end of the bargain, hair dressers and doctors to run on time, and friends to remember to pick up your child. As much as we try, we are not an island unto ourselves and we have to depend on others around us. And they will let us down. Just as we, unfortunately, are bound to let others down as well.
Combat lack of control by thinking ahead and securing contingent plans. Having a Plan B and C in place, ‘just in case’ will save you both time and frustration. While you may not be able to account for every circumstance, simply having the mindset that things can and will go wrong can make the difference between stress or success.
If things go wrong, play the ‘What If’ game and follow it through until the end. “What if Sally’s game runs late?” “What if she doesn’t have enough time for homework?” “What if she goes to school a little tired?” Even though the answers to the ‘What If’ questions may not be particularly joyful or reassuring, chances are you’ll figure out that as inconvenient and irritating as something may be, it likely won’t be the end of the world or present an irreparable consequence.
HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR
When all else fails, laugh.
Having realistic expectations in Step 2, while critically important, is one thing, but actually dealing with the disappointments and fallout that may accompany switching to a ‘less-than-ideal’ Plan B is yet another.
BUT, if it’s your best OR only choice, smile.
Being upset, flustered, grumpy, sarcastic, bitter, or downright angry isn’t going to make anything any better. In fact, it will only serve to make things worse. Every darn time. Melting down is not going to change the outcome for the better, so don’t waste your energy on the damaging and negative drain.
Proverbs 17:22 tells us, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
The steps above may seem basic in nature, but if you don’t follow them, even the easiest task or slightly trying circumstance can derail your chance of success.
So instead, SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS! You have nothing to lose except wasted time and aggravation and everything wonderful to gain!
Be Prepared – Set Realistic Expectations – Have a Sense of Humor!
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